Open-access content 14th September 2012
Claire Akin talks about the volunteering opportunities available at the BIFM.
20 September 2012
I began my career in FM at the age of 17 as a receptionist not having any experience of the industry.
The support of a mentor helped me to work my way up from a receptionist to a facilities contract manager within four years and become recognised as of the '35 Under 35 Rising Stars' at the age of 23 in 2006.
I continued to work up within the industry and obtain qualifications. In 2010 I decided I wanted to give something back to the industry that had put so much time and effort into me, so I became a volunteer for the Rising FMs Sig.
As a committee we meet up once a month and discuss relevant topics, brainstorm ideas for events and ideas for pushing FM a career of choice. We arrange various CPD events and cover topics related to the BIFM competencies.
The events are made informative and interactive for our members so they have something to take away with them and hopefully adopt into their own roles and development. Although time-consuming putting all the pieces together, when I see the end result and receive positive feedback from our members, it makes it worthwhile.
I personally enjoy helping members develop themselves within the industry, gain new skills, and I like networking with other members.
Volunteering has developed my personal skills and benefitted me in many ways.
My public speaking has seen me confidently speak to an audience of over 200 people. My networking skills have improved and I am able to join in on debates and discussions with members and other FM professionals. I am regularly contacted by members for advice on training and development.
I am regularly asked for my opinion and input for industry events from senior members within the industry. Volunteering has helped me become recognised as an industry team player whose input is valued. In 2011, I became the deputy chair of the committee and recently in 2012 I was voted as one of the 'Rising Stars of FM' (as featured in FM World).
If you are thinking of volunteering but are worried you may not be able to commit the time or concerned that you may not have enough to input, then please don't let this put you off. You may have experience in a specialist discipline that would be advantageous to members or you may be a keen administrator who could be a committee secretary.
You may want to open up your building for events or be a speaker at an event. Rising FMs recently introduced 'Open Building Days' where FMs can open their buildings to other members and talk about the specifics of their buildings and roles. We also encourage our members to take part in 'About the Job' sessions that are held during our events and give FMs the chance to speak about their roles, their current challenges and what they most enjoy.
Volunteering in this way will gain you recognition, credit and can be placed on your CPD and CV.
To learn more about volunteering for BIFM see all our groups at www.bifm.org.uk/groups or email [email protected]